Sutton Council says it plans to block installation of Ulez cameras

The Ulez scheme is set to be expanded  (PA Wire)
The Ulez scheme is set to be expanded (PA Wire)

Sutton Council has said it plans to block the installation of Ultra Low Emission Zone (Ulez) cameras in the borough.

London’s Ulez scheme is set to be expanded across the entire capital from next August, a move the mayor said would bring cleaner air to 5 million more residents.

Drivers of older, polluting cars will have to pay £12.50 a day to use their vehicle across Greater London from 29 August 2023.

The scheme has been welcomed by green groups, clean air campaigners and some businesses, although Conservatives have opposed the charge and say most people in outer boroughs do not want it.

Sutton Liberal Democrats argue that the scheme will negatively impact small business owners and key workers in the area.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan has said the capital’s toxic air, and the climate emergency, made it a public health imperative, and that revenue raised would go into public transport.

He said the zone, which was expanded from the heart of the city to boroughs within the north and south circular roads last October, had been “transformational”, reducing harmful pollution levels by almost half in central London.

But Sutton Council has said it does not support an expansion of the scheme as it is unfair to its residents.

A spokesperson for Sutton Liberal Democrats said: “We are concerned that the costs will be shouldered by people already struggling to get by in a difficult time, including small business owners and key workers.

“Liberal Democrats want to see action on air pollution. We have been clear that Ulez can only work for Sutton if it is fair to residents.”

The party is calling for TfL to introduce a more comprehensive scrappage scheme, provide more time for people to change to compliant vehicles, and increase the number of buses and trams in Sutton.

The statement continued: “We are taking this step to send a strong signal to the Mayor that he must start listening to local people.

"Though the Mayor has the right to overrule us, and may attempt to force this unpopular decision on the residents of Sutton, we are clear that would be the wrong thing to do.

“The position of Sutton Liberal Democrats and the council could not be clearer.

"We will continue to stand up for Sutton and fight for what is right by local residents and businesses.”

About 15 per cent of vehicles currently driving in outer London boroughs would be liable for the charge, with 160,000 cars and 42,000 vans using the proposed zone daily, according to TfL estimates.

Alex Williams, the chief customer and strategy officer for Transport for London (TfL), said the scheme would offer “unparalleled support”, extending the grace period for some vehicles and groups, including disabled people, and offering more free bus passes.

He said it would be “complemented by significant improvements to the outer London bus network, making public transport a more attractive alternative to the car”.